Carney Bowman could have walked away on top.
The York native could have lived the rest of his life telling his son and daughter that nobody beat their dad in the boxing ring. He could have told them about the night he fought on the undercard of an Oscar De La Hoya bout. Or the night he fought as part of the Kelly Pavlik/Jermain Taylor program.
In the back of his mind, though, Bowman would probably always wonder "what if?"
What if he would have stayed with the sport? What if he would have stayed undefeated? What if he earned another contract with a big-time promoter? What if he got a shot at a title?
After an 18-month layoff, Bowman is back to find answers to those questions. He will headline "Battle of York VI" at the Valencia Ballroom this Friday. He will look to improve on his 16-0 pro mark in the lightweight (130-135 pound) division against Ramisis Gil, a 29-year-old Dominican Republic native who will enter with a 7-4-5 mark.
It might look like Bowman is filling in for York College student Stevie Weimer, who was set to headline Friday's event before he sustained a shoulder injury about a month ago. But Bowman said he was already back training at that point, returning to a sport that has consumed his life since he first started training at 10 years old under the longtime tutelage of Julio Alvarez.
"I don't know anything else," Bowman said Monday while sitting on the side of the boxing ring inside Lincolnway Sportcenter in West York.
Bowman, 29, didn't get into specific details about the reasons for his temporary departure, only citing that he had to deal with some things personally, which included helping to raise his now 8-month old son.
This isn't the first time the man they call "Beeper" took a leave of absence from the sport. After a bout in May 2005, he left for about two years, mainly to help take care of his daughter, Ava Lynn, who was born prematurely in August 2006 and battled health complications the first couple years of her life.
"She's 100 percent now," Bowman said of his daughter. "I just need to get back on track for them. That's the only reason I'm thinking about fighting again, is for my kids."
Bowman has reasons to be optimistic of a possible contract from a big-time promoter. He has maintained a relationship with his former manager Cameron Dunkin since the pair met in 2000 when Bowman competed in the Olympic trials. Dunkin, a manager for Top Rank and Donaire, has a large stable of successful boxers, including Timothy Bradley, who recently defeated Manny Pacquiao.
Alvarez said he is trying to line up Bowman to spar with Danny Garcia as Garcia prepares to defend his WBA and WBC light welterweight titles in October. From there, Alvarez is hoping to get Bowman a title match against Diego Magdaleno, the current NABF super featherweight champion.
"Right now I'm not thinking about nothing else than getting to 20-0," Bowman said. "That's my goal, to get to 20-0. After that we'll start talking."
Maybe by that time, Bowman will have answers to some of those "what if" questions.
Event details: Friday's event begins at 6 p.m. Alvarez said there will be six or seven fights.
York native Jesus Saucedo (3-0) will compete in a light welterweight (135-140 pound) bout.
York native Brittany Inkrote has pulled out of the card.
Ben Carter, who is entering his junior year at Central York High School, and Koedee Gordon, a 2009 Central grad, will be featured in a pair of amateur bouts.
For information, contact Alvarez at 968-8000.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.